• Florida Policy Watch

FL Legislative Roundup: Committee Week Three 2/1 - 2/5

TALLAHASSEE, FL - This week in the Florida Legislature: Corporate and industry backed attacks on retirement, workers, public schools, and patients. Find out how you can help from home and online and what is coming up next week in Legislative Committee Week Four.


WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK:

Bill: SB74 COVID Liability Immunity for healthcare facilities including nursing homes

Categories: COVID, Workers Rights, Amendment 7, Corporate Influence, Healthcare, Seniors

This Week: Filed, assigned to committee, and put on the agenda for the next Senate Judiciary Committee meeting all in one day (2/3/2021).

Summary: This legislation essentially creates civil lawsuit immunity for healthcare facilities and nursing homes leaving patients with no way to hold healthcare providers accountable for negligence around COVID-19 treatment and spread within the facilities. This is particularly worrisome for nursing homes in Florida who have a track record of profit driven care-related problems. Roughly 70% of nursing homes in the United States are for-profit, and recent reports show that that these for-profit nursing homes are cited for violations at a higher rate than nonprofit facilities and things got worse after the virus hit. SB74 is backed by for-profit and industry related healthcare corporations and will, like its corporate counterpart HB7/SB72, put profits before people and patients, seniors,and employees of these agencies with no way to hold the profit driven healthcare facilities accountable for negligence during the pandemic. Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3ruhy8I


Actions on SB74: 1) Email Legislators in SB74 next committee stop (Senate Judiciary) and the bill sponsor and then 2) call and/or tweet the email you wrote at the bill sponsor - Senator Jeff Brandes: 850-487-5024 and @jeffreybrandes


Bill: HB7/SB72 COVID Liability Immunity for businesses, government agencies, schools, and religious organizations

Category: COVID, Workers Rights, Racial Justice, Poverty, Amendment 7, Corporate Corruption, Consumer, Healthcare

This Week: HB7 passed its second committee, House Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee on 02/03/2021. Summary: This legislation essentially raises the bar for business and property owner liability surrounding COVID-19. Where traditional liability claims prove negligence in court this legislation requires the plaintiff supply the burden of proof for the claim of negligence or willful misconduct against the business, government entity, educational institution, religious organization and/or property owner before they can file a claim. Essentially this means you have to prove guilt before the legal process of proving guilt. HB7/SB72 protects corporate businesses, Florida government entities, religious organizations, and education institutions with power and money while putting consumers, senior citizens, essential workers, and first responders at the back of the line. It increases the likelihood of continuing the pandemic and places profits over people. Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3oTndDC


Take Action on HB7/SB72: 1) Email Legislators in HB7/SB72’s next committee stops (House Judiciary and Senate Commerce and Tourism) and the bill sponsors and then 2) call and/or tweet the email you wrote at the bill sponsors - Senator Jeff Brandes: 850-487-5024 and @jeffreybrandes - House Rep. Lawrence McClure: 850-717-5058 and @repmcclure


Bill: SB78 Union Busting Bill aka “Dues and Uniform Assessments”

Category: Workers Rights, Labor

This Week: Debated in Senate Judiciary on 2/1/2021 and postponed for vote to 2/10/2021 in Senate Judiciary

Summary: Instead of working to help Floridians impacted by COVID-19, our legislature is taking advantage of low worker turnout at the state legislature to pass SB78 “Dues and Uniform Payments”. This legislation is essentially a union busting bill that requires public employees, including teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers, to reauthorize union membership annually and requires a separate authorization for deductions increasing the administrative tasks and labor of unpaid union volunteers and administrative staff at schools, public offices, law enforcement agencies and frontline workers.

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/2YUUUK8


Actions: 1) Email Legislators in SB78 next committee stop (Senate Judiciary) and the bill sponsor and the 2) call and/or tweet the email you wrote at the bill sponsor - Ray Rodrigues: 850-487-5027 and @isayray


Bill: SB84 Attack on Public Employees Retirement

Category: Workers Rights, Retirement

This Week: Passed favorably in its first Senate committee, Government Oversight and Accountability on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2021

Summary: This legislation essentially restricts and limits complicates the retirement plan process for public workers in the state of Florida. Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3aFbWSe


Actions: Call and tweet at the bill sponsor - Senator Ray Rodrigues: 850-487-5027 and @isayray


Bill: SB48 School Choice and Voucher Bill - Privatization of Education

Category: Public Education, Student’s Rights, Equity

This Week: Passed in Senate Education on 2/3/2021 and in Senate Appropriations Committee on Education

Summary: Instead of supporting public school students with more funding and teacher support our legislature is fast-tracking a massive 158 page school choice voucher bill that will redirect public funds into corporate backed private non-profit, for-profit and religious schools. This voucher bill streamlines the state’s five voucher programs in to two placing scholarship funding and school funding in the dark without accountability. Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/2N3gt8G


Actions: Call and tweet at the bill sponsor - Senator Manny Diaz: 850-487-5036 and @senmannydiazjr


KEEP UP TO DATE ON ALL FPAN PRIORITY BILLS

PRIORITY BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

HB1/SB484, DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill is not up for committee this week but we need you to take continued action. Please send an email to its next committee stops for HB1/SB484.


For More Information Read:


Legislative Update on DeSantis Anti-Protest Bill


Write a letter here:



LEGISLATIVE WEEK TO COME (click for more information)
Allied Partner Actions COMING UP

On Monday Feb 8, 2021, the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates will be joined by Floridians with personal stories to tell about their abortions later in pregnancy, to provide public testimony on SB 744/HB 351, a legislative attempt to ban abortion in the state of Florida past 20 weeks.


What: Remote public testimony (in English and Spanish) in opposition to SB 744/HB 351, the 20-week abortion ban

When: February 8th, 2021 at 11:00AM

Where: Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates Facebook page (Florida Policy Action Network (FPAN) will also go LIVE on our Facebook Page)

Who: Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates will be joined by five Floridians with personal stories to tell about seeking abortion care later in pregnancy for a variety of reasons

Why: Because lawmakers need to hear from their constituents about the importance of helping struggling Floridians during the COVID-19 pandemic, not passing more harmful restrictions on reproductive health care.